Second Year on the Farm Recap, so exciting! As we sat down to plan and make goals for the rest of 2017, we also thought of 10 significant things that happened in the last year. It is so important to reflect on what we have done. You all do this too, right?
Top 10 moments From Our Second Year on the Farm
- We started raising rare breed chickens. We started with Beilfelder, and Cream Legbar breeds, and we have since added Lavender Orphington and 55 Flower Hens. This adventure has been such a learning experience. Learning to juggle hatching, mange a brooder full of chicks, and caring for caged chickens has all been new to us.
- River’s birth was definitely one of our favorite days. We were all home to watch, and the weather was perfect that afternoon. It was such a great experience. River is so tame too, that we were able to handle her kids from the beginning.
- We finally got honey bees in April, and then they died in a 120 degree June heat wave. Very sad. The colony wasn’t big enough to be able to maintain the temperature of the hive. We will try again next year, and this time I will pick them up in March. We will also fix the hive to keep it safe from the ants.
- The Orchard! We started planting trees last fall, and put in another batch in the Spring. So far we have 28 fruit trees on our property, and our orchard is growing rapidly. I only have 5 more spaces in the orchard to fill.
- Breeding Turkeys. We kept back 6 turkeys from last year to breed this year. Honestly, it was disappointing. We got maybe 5 dozen eggs from 4 hens. 3 dozen chicks hatched. 3 of the adult turkeys died. The demand for the chicks was high, we had no problem selling them. We just didn’t really care for keeping turkeys. The ones that remain will be butchered in the fall so we can have more space to focus on breeding chickens.
- Using our mobile Chicken Coop. We have put our mobile coop to use, and love it! The chickens had no problem with our heat this Summer, and are eating less feed than our previous free range flock. The coop is easy enough for me to move by myself, and it’s working great with our pasture rotation management.
- I have been cooking up our lamb meat that we got back from the butcher early this year. It tastes great, and I smile every time I make a meal with meat that we raised. BUT I didn’t request enough hamburger. We are already out, and we didn’t plan to butcher more lambs for 5 more months. Woops! (No picture of the lamb meat, sorry!)
- Bringing CC (our new dairy goat) home was a great decision. We love the amount of milk we are getting from our 2 does. She is so sweet, and is well mannered on the milk stand.
- Year of the Garden (Look for a full post update coming soon!) We have our first phase of the garden done, and we have our fall seeds ready to plant in a month or so. This was a big project for my husband, and we are so excited to get back into gardening.
- Bad Pasture Year, it’s finally starting to turn around, but this last year we have been feeding more hay than we had planned. We were discussing keeping 2 ewes to add to our flock, but have decided not to. Mainly because we don’t know if we have enough grass to support that many more lambs over the next year. Final decision was that it is more important to us to keep the flock on grass than it is to have a bigger flock. So grass wins. This next year should be better. Our pasture is more dense, and we have also added a few new pens to start improving.
Plans for The Third Year
Each year we are a little more efficient than the last. As long as we keep that trend, I know we are on the right path. We plan to finish this year focusing on our garden.
Plant Trees, Fall Garden
We want to plant some shade trees in the garden area. Pecan, mulberry, mesquite and moringa are the trees that we will plant first. We also have a few seeds picked out for our fall garden.
It’s time for the goats and sheep to be bred! Everyone got a nice hoof trim, and we did the blood (disease) testing on the males. This weekend we will be separating (weaning the lambs) and moving everyone to different pens to be bred. I can’t believe it’s already that time.
Random To Do List
Other than the garden and breeding, we will be taken it easy for the rest of the year. We need to finish little projects here and there, and maintain what we have going on. Nest boxes need to be made for our breeding pens, there is a leak in one of our automatic water buckets, one of the irrigation ports needs to be dug out, stray weeds cleaned up, and the list goes on.
This second year on the farm was a good one. Lots of learning, lots of improvement, we are getting into our groove.